(This series highlights my ignorance of several subjects. I thought I knew a good deal about the world, but when I only rely on the information in my head, I soon found that I know nothing about…)
Communism is a political ideology. Karl Marx wrote about his dream form of government and put it in a book called The Communist Manifesto.
He thought the ruling class had too much power and everyone else worked hard and should be better compensated. He dubbed everyone else “The Proletariat”. The Proletariat could, in theory, work together to get rid of the Tsar (The Russian King) and then everyone could be equal.
They did this. It was called the Russian Revolution or the Bolshevik Revolution. Leon Trotsky and Vladamir Lenin were the leaders of the revolution, but then Lenin decided he liked being in charge. I think Marx was long dead at this point.
George Orwell made these people into animals, pigs and horses and such, when he wrote his allegory Animal Farm. At the end of the story, the pig leader breaks a lot of the rules he established at the beginning and is living in a house, eating at a table and even speaking English. Basically, he turns into the farmer, who really is the Tsar. The pig’s name is Napoleon.
Americans never really liked communism. Joseph McCarthy was an American senator who didn’t like communism or communists one bit. In the 1950’s he made a list of politicians he said were communists.
Arthur Miller wrote a play about the Salem Witch Trials, which was really a play about McCarthyism, called The Crucible.
Socialism and Communism would make good fodder for a Venn Diagram since they have some things in common but a lot of differences too.
Communism works, on paper, but they’ve found IRL people don’t want to have the government control everything. And people naturally work hard or they are lazy so it’s not easy to govern those people equally.
Lots of wars were fought in the 20th century over Communism. America thought it was full of bad ideas and some evil ones too so they killed people in Vietnam and Korea and shook their fist at the Soviet Union, which is what Russia was called under Communism. Both countries spied on each other a lot. When the Americans won a hockey game in the Olympics it kind of felt like the Americans won the Cold War, but both countries still had nuclear weapons.
Che Guevara thought Communism was a good solution to poverty, so he teamed up with Fidel Castro and they started a war so that Cuba would become a communist country. The silhouette of Che Guevara wearing a beret with a star on it is printed on a lot of t-shirts that some people wear.
Germany split in half because of Communism and the Berlin Wall had communists on one side and non-communists on the other. Ronald Reagan told Mr. Gorbachev to “Tear down this wall,” referring to the Berlin Wall. They didn’t really tear it down. A lot of people in acid washed jeans hit it with sledgehammers and it sort of crumbled down in places.
A lot of people died because of communism. There are still communist countries today.